As the 2007 Carbon Cocky of the year and 2010 finalist in the national Farmer of the Year awards, Martin Royds and Patricia Solomon know a thing or two about building carbon in the soil.
Located near Braidwood NSW, their 450ha farm (named Jillamatong after the local mountain) is home to a holistically managed cattle grazing enterprise and other cottage industries (truffles, yabbies, garlic, and native grass seeds).
The pastures are carefully managed to build healthy soil and contain many different plants so that the cattle can select exactly the plants they need to eat. The cattle are moved every few days to fresh pasture and are provided with a free choice supplement bar so that they can freely select additional trace minerals or other nutrients. This frequent, gentle handling means that the animals are used to being moved around by people and so they don’t become significantly stressed when the time comes to leave the property.
Through working in harmony with nature, eliminating the use of toxic chemicals and forming strong relationships with their communities, Martin and Trish have designed this family business so that it is environmentally, socially and economically successful.
This hasn't all happened by chance. Martin has sought out local and international mentors and innovative educators such as Allan Savory, George Gundry and Bruce Ward (Holistic Management), Elaine Ingham (Soil Food Web), Christine Jones (Amazing Carbon), Hamish Mackay and John Priestly (Biodynamics), and Peter Andrews (Natural Sequence Farming). Martin has incorporated their teaching and wisdom into his farm management practices, and continues the education process through farm tours for other interested farmers (and the public).
Since adopting these practices, the health of the soil and landscape has increased. Soil Carbon levels have risen from <1% to nearly >6% in some areas, soil acidity has reversed and areas of salinity have disappeared. As a result, Jillamatong has been selected in the inaugural Soils for Life group of demonstration farms. Click here for details about the Soils for Life program and the Jillamatong case study.